Appeal decision/planning refusals

Appeal Ref: APP/F2415/W/18/3207233

Corner plot Sutton Road/ Welham Road, Great Bowden, Market Harborough, Leicestershire LE16 7HW

The appellant states that the Neighbourhood Plan identifies that large houses are a notable feature of the village. Be that as it may, green open spaces and the important views created by them is also a notable feature of the area and one that would be eroded by the proposal.

It would also conflict with the parts of Policy H3 and H6 of the Neighbourhood Plan which seeks to ensure new development reflects the character and historic context of existing development within Great Bowden and with Policy ENV7 of the Neighbourhood Plan. This policy states that new development should not have a significant adverse impact on the view from Welham Road/ Sutton Road junction northwards west to east, including Nether Green and a large paddock which links the built environment with historic open spaces.

Appeal Ref: APP/F2415/W/17/3192138

Land South of Dingley Road, Great Bowden, Market Harborough

I have found that the proposed development would preserve the setting of adjacent listed buildings – however, the lack of harm it would cause in this respect does not overcome the clear harm that it would cause to the significance of both the Conservation Area and the Cemetery. For these reasons, the proposed development would conflict with Policies CS11 and CS17 of Harborough’s Core Strategy (adopted November 2011); and Policies ENV1 and ENV6 of the Neighbourhood Plan. Taken together, and amongst other things, these policies seek to ensure that the significance, features and settings of heritage assets are protected, conserved and enhanced; that development respects the context in which it is taking place, responding to the unique characteristics of the site, reflecting the character of the village, and occurs away from undeveloped areas of land which are important to the form and character of a settlement; and does not compromise the effectiveness of the Areas of Separation in protecting the identity and distinctiveness of Great Bowden.

Land at Leicester Lane, Great Bowden 18/01483/OUT 46 dwellings

In pursuance of its powers under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, the Harborough District Council refuses to permit the carrying out of the development referred to in Part I hereof for the following reasons:

  1. This proposal fails to constitute sustainable development as outlined in paragraph 11 of the NPPF as the adverse impact of the scheme: namely the fact that the site is outside of the development limits for Great Bowden where its approval would conflict with the Great Bowden Neighbourhood Plan, which is an up to date statutory development document as referred to in paragraph 12 of the NPP would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits that the scheme would bring. Therefore, the scheme is contrary to paragraph 12, of the NPPF, policies H1 and H2 of the Great Bowden Neighbourhood Plan and policies CS2 and CS17 of the Harborough Core Strategy
  2. The proposal by virtue of the extension of development westward of Great Bowden along the Leicester Lane would give rise to an unbalanced and large-scale estate development on the western periphery of the village contrary to the existing character of the village. In addition, the potential formation of a new access into the site from the Leicester Lane would have an adverse impact on the character and appearance of Leicester Lane verge an identified Important Open Space.

Hungarton 8/01110/OUT

Planning permission cannot be given until the Applicant enters into a S106 Agreement to ensure

  1. a) one of the 3 dwellings is to be a 2/3 bed starter home;
  2. b) 1st consideration is to be given to local people and
  3. c) that the development should also include provision of a home for older people,

REASON: In order to comply with Policy H2 of the Hungarton Neighbourhood Plan

Alrewas 17/01495/FULM

The application site lies next to, but outside, the settlement boundary of Alrewas and therefore is within designated Local Green Space within the Alrewas Neighbourhood Plan. By reason of its scale and location, the development would elongate the village in a northern direction and as such would therefore appear as an incongruous urban intrusion into the rural landscape causing harm to its character, which is unrelated to the existing settlement pattern. Therefore the proposal would be contrary to Core Policy 1 (The Spatial Strategy) and Policy Alr4 (Alrewas Housing) of the Lichfield District Local Plan Strategy (2015), Policies HP1 and EC2 of the Alrewas Neighbourhood Plan (Made 2018) and Government Guidance contained in the National Planning Policy Framework.

2 The application site is not allocated for residential development and the Council is able to demonstrate a housing land supply in excess of 5 years (including the appropriate buffer). The level of growth in this location would be contrary to the spatial strategy which seeks to concentrate a proportionate and modest level of growth to Alrewas in line with the settlement hierarchy. As such the proposal would be contrary to Core Policies 1 (The Spatial Strategy) and 6 (Housing Delivery) and Policy Alr4 (Alrewas Housing) of the Lichfield District Local Plan Strategy (2015), Policy HP1 Alrewas Neighbourhood Plan (2018) and Government Guidance contained in the National Planning Policy Framework.

Old Dalby 17/00671/OUT

In the opinion of the Local Planning Authority the proposed dwellings would occupy a site outside of the built-up confines of Old Dalby on land that provides part of the rural setting to the village and forms part of a designated area of separation. The introduction of seven residential units and parking would result in the erosion of the rural character and appearance of the open countryside, eroding the clarity of the eastern approach to the village through a new development which would detract from the open nature of this rural approach. The proposal is therefore contrary to Policies BE1 and OS2 of the Melton Local Plan, Policies S2, H1, ENV1 and ENV7 of the Broughton and Dalby NP, Policies SS2 and EN4 of the emerging Melton Local Plan and the NPPF. These policies seek to ensure a satisfactory appearance to development and to restrict inappropriate development in the countryside and to protect important open spaces and areas of separation.

Great Easton 18/00442/FUL

Erection of B and B accommodation, including access and associated works, Land Rear Of 28, Caldecott Road, Great Easton.

In pursuance of its powers under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, the Harborough District Council refuses to permit the carrying out of the development referred to in Part I hereof for the following reasons:

  1. The proposal will be a visual intrusion adversely affecting the character of the area and is contrary to Harborough Core Strategy policy CS11 and Great Easton Neighbourhood Plan policy E2 c) and g) and no material considerations including contribution to business outweigh this harm.

Erection of a dwelling, 22 New Road, Kibworth Beauchamp, Leicestershire. 18/01458/FUL

In pursuance of its powers under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, the Harborough District Council refuses to permit the carrying out of the development referred to in Part I hereof for the following reasons:

  1. The proposal by virtue of its design, siting and layout will not reflect or enhance the characteristics of the surrounding area and is contrary to Policy CS11 of the Core Strategy, saved Local Plan Policy HS8 and Policies H1 and H4 of the Kibworth Villages Neighbourhood Plan.
  2. The design of the property will not safeguard future residential amenity and the access road and parking area will have an adverse impact on existing residential amenity. This is contrary to Policy CS11 of the Harborough District Core Strategy

Outline application for the erection of up to 22 dwellings with associated access and drainage infrastructure (all matters reserved except for means of access), Land Adj The Nurseries, Fleckney Road, Kibworth Beauchamp. 18/01079/OUT

In pursuance of its powers under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, the Harborough District Council refuses to permit the carrying out of the development referred to in Part I hereof for the following reasons:

  1. This proposal fails to constitute sustainable development as outlined in paragraph 11 of the NPPF as the adverse impact of the scheme: namely the fact that the site is outside of the development limits for Kibworth where its approval would conflict with the housing strategy of the Kibworth Neighbourhood Plan, which is an up to date statutory development document as referred to in paragraph 12 of the NPPF would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits that the scheme would bring. Therefore, the scheme is contrary to paragraph 12, of the NPPF, policies SD1 and H1(1) of the Kibworth Neighbourhood plan and policies CS2 and CS17 of the Harborough Core Strategy.

Erection of a dwelling, 1 Dag Lane, North Kilworth, Leicestershire. 18/01241/FUL

In pursuance of its powers under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, the Harborough District Council refuses to permit the carrying out of the development referred to in Part I hereof for the following reasons:

  1. By virtue of its siting and layout, the proposal will result in a harmful loss of the verdant character of this part of the street scene and create a cramped appearance which is contrary to the character of the street scene. The proposal therefore will be detrimental to the character and appearance of the area, contrary to NK3 of the North Kilworth Neighbourhood Plan and CS11 of the Harborough District Core Strategy. Furthermore, the loss of the trees and the drainage as proposed do not comply with policies NK14 and NK6 of the North Kilworth Neighbourhood Plan. The proposal is therefore not considered sustainable development in the context of the Framework.

Extension and alteration of existing garage and stable outbuilding to form garage, swimming pool enclosure and room within roof, including raising of roof height and alterations to fenestration, and change of use of barn including a single storey extension and rebuilding to form annexe, Old Station Masters House, Ingarsby Lane, Ingarsby. 18/00795/FUL

In pursuance of its powers under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, the Harborough District Council refuses to permit the carrying out of the development referred to in Part I hereof for the following reasons:

  1. The proposed development (residential annexe), by virtue of the type and amount of accommodation provided, cannot be considered as ancillary to the existing dwelling and therefore results in the creation of a separate dwelling on the site, which is situated within the open countryside. Planning Permission will only normally be granted for the construction of new dwellings in the countryside where they are essential for the needs of agriculture, forestry or another activity appropriately located in the countryside. The proposed dwelling would be sited in a remote location with poor accessibility to local services, community facilities and public transport. Future occupiers of the development would lack viable transport alternatives and thereby be overly reliant on the use of a private motor vehicle. The proposal would therefore represent an inappropriate and unsustainable form of development that would be contrary to the relevant provisions of Paragraphs 77-79 of the National Planning Policy Framework and Policies CS5 (a), CS9 (a), CS11 (c(viii)) and CS17 of the Harborough District Core Strategy. Furthermore, the proposed development would be contrary with the relevant provisions of the Hungarton Neighbourhood Development Plan in respect of housing provision and its appropriate siting.
  2. The proposed development would fail to provide adequate on-site vehicular parking provision for the proposed dwelling house, as per the design standards/requirements set out in Leicestershire Highways Design Guide. The proposal, if permitted, would therefore be likely to lead to an undesirable increase in on-street parking to the detriment to highway safety. Accordingly, the proposed development would be contrary with the provisions of Policies CS5 and CS11 of the Harborough District Core Strategy, Policy T1 of the Hungarton Neighbourhood Development Plan and the Leicestershire Highways Design Guide.

REFUSAL OF PERMISSION FOR DEVELOPMENT Town and Country Planning Act 1990Proposed dropped kerb and driveway formation at 23 Burton Road Ashby De La Zouch Leicestershire LE65 2LF.

The proposal fails to achieve the recommended visibility splays of  2  x  2  metres  and would result in an obstructed and obscured view of passing vehicles and pedestrians. The proposal therefore conflicts with Policies IF4 and IF7 of the North  West Leicestershire  Local  Plan,  Policy  S4  of  the  Ashby  Neighbourhood  Development  Plan, Paragraphs  109  and  110  of  the  National  Planning  Policy  Framework  and  the  advice contained within the Leicestershire Highway Design Guide.

Appeal Ref: APP/F2415/W/17/3167654 Land to the north of Oaks Road, Great Glen, Leicestershire LE8 9EG

Decision: The appeal is dismissed.

Policy GG14 (Ridge and Furrow Fields) requires that development should seek to preserve the identified areas of well-preserved ridge and furrow wherever possible. The proposed development would not preserve the ridge and furrow in the southern field apart from a token remnant and there is no reason why it could not. For this reason I determine that it would not comply with GG14. Policy GG17 (Important Trees and Hedges) requires development proposals to protect and integrate into the design of that development existing trees and hedges of good arboricultural, ecological and amenity value. The proposal would result in the loss of 135m of the existing hedgerow to Oaks Lane, which is in reasonably good condition and provides amenity value in enclosing the field, and so would fail to comply with GG17.

These NP Policies are not yet part of the development plan because the NP has not yet been ‘made’ but conflict with them should be given substantial weight, as acknowledged by the appellant and as required by statute.

Appeal Ref: APP/F2415/W/18/3218248 Land at Fleckney Road, Kibworth Beauchamp

Decision: The appeal is dismissed.

The appeal site is located in the countryside outside of the Limits to Development. Policy SD1 of the Kibworth Neighbourhood Plan (2018) states that new development shall be located within the Limits to Development unless there are special circumstances to justify its location in the countryside. In addition, Policies CS2 and CS17 of the Harborough District Core Strategy (2011) seek to restrict housing development in the countryside outside of the Limits to Development. The proposal would clearly be contrary to these policies.

Set against this, the development would provide 22 new dwellings, 40% of which would be affordable.

No party has argued that reduced weight should be attached to either the Harborough District Core Strategy or Kibworth Neighbourhood Plan due to any lack of consistency with the Framework. Insofar as the policies cited above relate to the appeal proposal they are broadly in conformity with the Framework, which recognises the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside.

Overall, however, I do not consider that these benefits justify approving a development that conflicts with both the Harborough District Core Strategy and the Kibworth Neighbourhood Plan. In the circumstances of this appeal, the material considerations considered above do not justify making a decision other than in accordance with the development plan.

For the reasons given above I conclude that the appeal should be dismissed.

Application number:   19/00727/FUL. Demolition of the existing dwelling and the erection of four dwellings (revised scheme of 18/02008/FUL), 31 London Road, Great Glen, Leicestershire.

In pursuance of its powers under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, the Harborough District Council refuses to permit the carrying out of the development referred to in Part I hereof for the following reasons:

  1. The proposed development is not considered to be inspired by, respect or enhance the local character or appearance of the individual site, street scene or environment. The layout, scale and design of the development is not considered to enhance or reinforce local distinctiveness nor fit with the character of the surrounding area. Therefore, the development is contrary to Policy GD8 of the Harborough Local Plan and Policy GG1 and GG4 of the Great Glen Neighbourhood Plan.
  2. The proposed development does not provide an adequate housing mix: Policy GG1 of the Great Glen Neighbourhood Plan states: If it involves two or more dwellings, provides for at least one home with two or fewer bedrooms for every one large dwelling (i.e. three or more bedrooms).

Appeal Ref: APP/X2410/W/19/3220699 Land off Barnards Drive, Sileby, Leicestershire Gladmans. Up to 228 dwellings

Subsequent to the close of the Inquiry, the Council and Sileby Parish Council (SPC) provided me with the Report by the Independent Examiner in respect of the examination of the Sileby Neighbourhood Plan 2018-2036 (SNP). In it, the Examiner recommends that the SNP should proceed to a referendum subject to some moderations. The appeal site lies outside of the settlement limits as identified by the SNP and as such, the proposal would be contrary to Policy G1 of the SNP which seeks to limit development in the countryside to certain uses which do not include the type of development proposed.

Appeal Ref: APP/F2415/W/19/3229976 Land off Fenny Lane, Shearsby

Subsequent to the Council refusing planning permission, the Harborough District Core Strategy, together with the saved policies of the previous Local Plan have been replaced by the Harborough District Local Plan (the Local Plan). In addition, the Shearsby Neighbourhood Plan (the Neighbourhood Plan) has been the subject of a successful referendum. Accordingly, it now forms part of the Development Plan. I have given both documents full weight in my considerations.

Under the provisions of the Neighbourhood Plan, a small portion of the appeal site is within the settlement boundaries. However, given the quantum of the proposed development, it appears unlikely to come forward without projecting beyond the settlement boundaries, thus breaching the policy. These boundaries seek to direct future development towards the existing built up area.

Although an outline application, it is likely that the development could be designed to provide at least some smaller dwellings, or bungalows. However, one of the aims of the Neighbourhood Plan is to direct new development to inside Shearsby’s boundaries, and the development fails to comply with this.

The development therefore fails to comply in this regard, with the requirements of Policies IN2, GD4 and GD8 of the Local Plan and Policy H1 of the Neighbourhood Plan. These policies, amongst other matters, seek to direct new development to within the defined settlement limits; reuse previously developed sites; and ensure the safe, efficient and convenient movement of all highway users.

The appeal site, which is allocated as a Locally Important Open Space in the Neighbourhood Plan, consists of a pasture and part of a larger field that is situated on land higher than the village.

Whilst the application has been made in outline form, it is likely that the built form of the dwellings, in addition to the potential for access roads and driveways would lead to a significant addition to the built environment. This would be at the expense of the current pasture, the importance of which is acknowledged in the Neighbourhood Plan. This space contributes to the village’s character and the CA’s significance, and acts as a transitional space between the built form of the village and the more open countryside beyond.

Due to the adverse effect on the character and appearance of the area, I conclude that the proposal fails to comply, in this regard, with Policies HC1 and GD8 of the Local Plan; and Policy H1 of the Neighbourhood Plan.

Removal of Condition 1 (occupation restrictions) of 12/01497/FUL to allow use as a permanent residential dwelling, Astley Grange Farm, Back Lane, East Langton.

In pursuance of its powers under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, the Harborough District Council refuses to permit the carrying out of the development referred to in Part I hereof for the following reasons:

  1. The removal of condition to allow use as a permanent residential dwelling would be contrary to Local Plan policies, GD2 and GD4 and East Langton Neighbourhood Plan policy H1 and H2 as it is an unsuitable location for housing. Furthermore, the proposal would result in the loss of tourist accommodation contrary to Local Plan policy RT4.

Permission in Principle for four to six new dwellings, Land Adjacent Astley House, Back Lane, East Langton. Application number: 19/01725/PIP

Harborough District Council hereby give notice in pursuance of the provisions of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 Town and Country Planning (Permission in Principle) (Amendment) Order 2017 that permission has been refused for the carrying out of the above development referred to in Part I hereof for the following reason(s):

  1. The site is not within or adjacent to the existing or committed built up area of East Langton, the development represents new housing in the countryside. The proposal therefore fails to comply with Local Plan polices GD2 and GD4 and East Langton Neighbourhood Plan policies H1, H2,. The development would not therefore constitute sustainable development in line with the National Policy Framework.
  2. Development of this site with new housing would harm both the character and appearance of the area and the setting of the Conservation Area. The harm to the Conservation Area would be less than substantial and is not outweighed by the schemes benefits. The proposal therefore fails to comply with Local Plan polices GD5, GD8 and HC1 and East Langton Neighbourhood Plan policies DBE1 and DBE3.The development would not therefore constitute sustainable development in line with the National Policy Framework.

Are neighbourhood plans boosting housing numbers?

Few in the sector have disputed the findings of a planning consultancy report claiming that neighbourhood plans have had a limited impact on boosting housing supply.

31 May 2018 by Joey Gardiner


A report from planning consultancy Lichfields published earlier this month threw considerable doubt on the government’s repeated claims that neighbourhood plans allocate on average 10 per cent more homes than their councils’ local plans. The claim was first made in 2015 and repeated in a written ministerial statement in December 2016 and again in last year’s housing white paper. Ministers have cited the figure in a bid to show that the documents have a positive effect on planning for new homes. 

How does this month’s report compare with the government’s research that produced the 10 per cent figure? Lichfields’ figures are certainly based on a greater amount of data. It analysed 330 adopted or ‘made’ neighbourhood plans – well over half the 542 now completed. In contrast, the government’s study was based on a 2015 study that looked at just 39 documents. 

Lichfields’ analysis found that just 15 neighbourhood plans – five per cent of the total studied – allocate more homes or set a higher target than the relevant adopted local plan. And for those 15 the additional planned housing amounts to just three per cent. The majority of neighbourhood plans – 60 per cent – allocate no housing at all. There is no requirement for neighbourhood plans to propose housing numbers or allocate sites, but where they do they are prevented by regulations from proposing fewer homes than are allocated in their local plans. "It is difficult to conclude," the report states, "that neighbourhood plans are boosting the planned supply of housing." 

Few in the sector dispute this finding. Jon Herbert, director at consultancy Troy Planning, said most areas plan positively, but added: "I’m not involved in any that are allocating more than they have to – it’s fair to say those are few and far between." The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government did not contradict the findings when asked, with a spokesman simply stating the government was "committed to giving communities more of a say in the development of their area". 

Developers and their agents feel that despite the rules stopping neighbourhood plans reducing housing numbers, they do often restrict development opportunities. This is in part, they say, because of the government’s commitment to protecting neighbourhood plan areas from speculative development by requiring only a three-year housing land supply to be demonstrated, as opposed to five years in other areas. 

Rico Wojtulewicz, senior policy advisor at lobby group the House Builders Association, said the neighbourhood plan preparation process "does not always reach those in need of housing and so their voice is not appropriately represented". He added: "In regions with higher house prices, there has been a feeling that neighbourhood plans can be designed to stifle development opportunities." Lichfields senior director Matthew Spry said: "Too many plans duck the big housing issues, and some actively plan to resist development."

Even supporters of neighbourhood planning accept that many of those who get involved are motivated, at least initially, by a desire to conserve particular sites. Gary Kirk, managing director of community consultancy YourLocale, said: "There are often sites that are sensitive locally that people want to protect." 

But while few dispute Lichfields’ findings about housing numbers, neighbourhood planning consultants reject the idea that the plans are actively frustrating development. Chris Bowden, director at consultant Navigus, said: "Communities now increasingly understand the need to plan for housing." 

With just over 2,500 plans in the system, supporters say the report underplays the success of community-made strategies in galvanising public participation. Measuring such plans only by the volume of housing they allocate misses their purpose, they insist. Community planning consultant Tony Burton said: "You can’t criticise neighbourhood plans for not dealing with housing – they have no obligation to, and lots choose to focus on other things." By giving residents an opportunity to shape the type and location of new housing, neighbourhood planning had made growth "more palatable" in many places, added Kirk. 

Some have claimed that Lichfields’ research indicates the general distaste of the development industry for neighbourhood planning. Neil Homer, planning director at consultancy ONeill Homer, said the report "fitted neatly into the overriding neighbourhood plan narrative from developers and their consultants, that they are a constraint on development". "If this narrative is not properly challenged," he said, "then neighbourhood plans will be set up to fail." "Overall, the planning system is still an open goal for developers," Bowden said. "They don’t need neighbourhood planning to be about delivering numbers too."

CASE STUDIES

The Newport Pagnell Neighbourhood Plan in Buckinghamshire, which was made in 2016, allocates sites for 1,400 new homes in the town by 2031, compared with about 450 earmarked in the 2013 Milton Keynes core strategy. Newport Pagnell Town Council, which produced the plan, has said the plan’s proposed provision of additional infrastructure to accompany the homes, notably more school places and health facilities, was a key factor in persuading the community to accept the higher housing target. 

Salford Priors Neighbourhood Plan in Warwickshire, which was formally "made" in July last year, plans for a minimum of 134 new homes over the plan period to 2031. In comparison, Stratford-on-Avon District Council gave its parish an indicative figure of just 84 homes. The plan says the homes are to allow village growth to support local services and meet local housing needs, and to "physically link the two separate halves of the village".

Neighbourhood Watch: Latest poll results continue to show strong support for plans

Waltham on the Wolds: Plan receives over 90 per cent approval rating

Latest referendum results continue to show a very high level of popularity for neighbourhood
plans, according to analysis by Planning.

Two referenda last week - both in the Leicestershire borough of Melton - provided an overwhelming vote in favour of plans. The Waltham on the Wolds and Thorpe Arnold neighbourhood plan was passed at referendum with a 92 per cent approval rating on a 51 per cent turnout, and the Nether Broughton and Old Dalby neighbourhood plan was approved with an 88 per cent approval rating on a 36.5 per cent turnout.

Analysis of referendum results shows that the average approval rating was 90.07 per cent across 21 referenda results during March 2018. As the table below shows, the highest approval rating was Pirton in Hertfordshire, which received backing from 96.7 per cent of voters. The lowest approval rating was at Holbeck in Leeds City, which nevertheless received a ‘Yes’ vote of well over three-quarters, at 79.2 per cent. Middleton on the Hill in Herefordshire was the only other neighbourhood plan which received an approval rating of under 80 per cent during March.

NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN UPDATES

ADOPTION NEWS

West Yorkshire: The Holbeck Neighbourhood Plan was made by Leeds City Council on 9 April. A referendum held on the plan on 1 March resulted in 79.2 per cent of voters approving the plan on a turnout of 13.9 per cent.

The Longwick-cum-Ilmer Neighbourhood Plan was made by Wycombe District Council on 27 March. A referendum held on the plan on 8 March resulted in 92.8 per cent of voters approving the plan on a turnout of 37.7 per cent.

REFERENDUM NEWS

Leicestershire: A referendum held on 12 April on whether Melton Borough Council should make the Waltham on the Wolds and Thorpe Arnold neighbourhood plan received a yes vote of 92 per cent, on a 51 per cent turnout.

Leicestershire: A referendum held on 12 April on whether Melton Borough Council should make the Nether Broughton and Old Dalby neighbourhood plan received a yes vote of 88 per cent, on a turnout of 36 per cent.

Leicestershire: A referendum held on 29 March on whether Harborough District Council should make the Houghton on the Hill neighbourhood plan received a yes vote of 89.5 per cent, on a 30 per cent turnout.

SUBMISSION NEWS

Dorset: The Sturminster Newton Neighbourhood Development Plan was submitted to North Dorset District Council for its consideration on 6 April. Sturminster Newton Town Council submitted the draft plan, which will be out to consultation until 25 May.

Neighbourhood plan trumps land supply deficit in housing secretary’s Somerset homes refusal

Plans for up to 200 homes on open fields outside a Somerset village have been rejected by housing secretary Sajid Javid, following findings that the scheme would clash with neighbourhood plan policies.

Charles Church Developments’ planning application for the Farleigh Fields site on the edge of Backwell, a designated rural service village south of Bristol, was refused by North Somerset Council in June 2016.

The scheme went to public inquiry in March last year. Inspector Gareth Jones’s report to the secretary of state was submitted last July.

 In his decision letter, issued yesterday, Javid agreed with the inspector that only around a 3.9- year supply of housing land could be shown for the area. He also gave "very significant weight" to the scheme’s benefits, including 65 affordable homes within the development.

However, the secretary of state gave full weight to a core strategy policy stating that proposals for more than "about" 25 dwellings outside the settlement boundaries of rural service villages should be allocated through local or neighbourhood plans.

He recognised that the Backwell Neighbourhood Plan, adopted in 2015, does not state a specific quantum of new homes for the village. However, he concluded that references to sites where residential development would be supported meant that the plan, "when read as a whole", did allocate sites for housing.

On that basis, he decided that the December 2016 written ministerial statement on neighbourhood plans applied to the development. This stated that neighbourhood plan policies for the supply of housing should not be deemed out of date where the plan allocates sites for housing and the local planning authority can demonstrate a three-year supply of deliverable sites.

He also found that the scheme would significantly affect the village’s character and setting and would be "excessive in size". He concluded that the adverse impacts of granting permission would "significantly and demonstrably" outweigh the benefits.

A spokesman for Backwell Residents Association, which has been fighting the Farleigh Fields proposal for the past three years, said: "The result is a tribute to the spirit of the village."